*Entries submitted and written by Edward de los Reyes
On this day in 1922, a Jamaican-born man, Montrose Waite received a letter from the Christian and Missionary Alliance mission board informing him that they wised to send him as a missionary to Africa. Even though he had become a naturalized American citizen and dealt with prejudice and friends urging him to stay in the United States, he and his family sailed to Africa to serve as a missionary there.
After leaving Africa for a furlough in 1937, World war 2 broke out and delayed their trip back. After the war, Waite attempted to return to Africa but was denied permission by his mission board because of the color of his skin. Despite the hardship and discouragement that this cause, Waite was able to form a mission board that supported God’s work in his life. He was able to return to Africa in 1948 when he writes this letter:
“No one but myself realized the joy that overwhelmed me when my family and I found ourselves actually on the ship that was to take us back to Africa after 11 years. When General McArthur’s army was defeated in the Philippines in 1942, he was forced to leave by night for Australia. He said confidently, “I shall return.” It was a bold statement, but the general knew the stuff America is made of. I cannot say that we were as bold or as confident when we were forced to pack up in 1937 and leave Africa. We did not wish to leave, but the hope of returning was very dim. However, ‘When He putteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them.’”
What a great testimony of a man that would not let the discouragements of people or doubt come between him and his love for God. How willing are we to do whatever it takes to do God’s will. Are we willing to go against the comforts of this world, the voices of loved ones, and the attacks of the enemy to follow the beckoning call of our Savior and Shepherd, Jesus Christ? Montrose Waite was. I pray we all are, as well.
On this day in 1825, a friend wrote a letter to Alexander Cambell which said, “Your paper has well-nigh stopped missionary operations in this State. I hope it will destroy associations, conventions, etc!”
When Adonioram and Ann Judson became Baptist, they needed a Baptist Mission Board to help support them and future missionary endeavors. Luther Rice, who had become a Baptist with the Judsons, returned to the states to help start the board and to raise support among the Baptist churches. Many Baptist were excited and jumped on board with the new movement. But another group, the Anti-Mission Baptist, were bitterly opposed. Their opposition to the missionary movement was lead by Alexander Cambell. He sprung fearsomely at the mission-minded churches, writing articles, letters, and papers of the folly and sin, of the missionary movement:
Is, then, the attempt to convert the heathen by means of modern missionaries, an unauthorized and a hopeless one? It seems to be unauthorized, and, if so, then it is a hopeless one. From these plain and obvious facts and considerations, it is evident that it is a capital mistake to suppose that missionaries in heathen lands, without the power of working miracles, can succeed in establishing the Christian religion. The Bible, then, gives us no idea of a missionary without the power of working miracles.
As his influence grew, so did his opposition. The pro-missionary Baptist Churches fought back and soon a battle was raging for the future of the Baptist mission movement.
In his book, J.W. Porter sums up the fight, “With all his power Mr. Campbell opposed the cause of missions, and had this great anti-missionary been permitted to have his way, there would not to-day be a missionary in all the world. But the Baptists, in the strength of God, withstood him to the face and conquered one of the greatest missionaries’ battles of the ages.”
The World’s Debt to the Baptists By: J.W. Porter
On this day in 1497, German reformer, Philipp Melanchthon, was born. Later in life, Melanchthon worked closely with Martin Luther. They both came to reject what they claimed was the exaggerated cult of the saints, justification by works, and the sacrament of penance that could not offer certainty of salvation. Melanchthon also made a distinction between “law” and “gospel.”
As a pier of Luther’s, Melanchthon defended him against Johann van Eck and Charles V. However, the two of them weren’t always on such good terms. Luther stood in firm disagreement to Melanchthon on his views on the Sacrament. However, Luther later apologized on his death bed for the ways he acted because of this disagreement. Melanchthon was one of the most influential theologians of his time. Although he was not a world famous preacher, he was known for being a respectable rhetorician and preacher. He translated many of his sermons from German into Latin for the benefit of some of his students or other individuals who did not speak German. He spread the gospel over different groups of people and cultures. His studies and teachings of the Bible became pivotal for foundational doctrine which would be spread across the world.
Although both were very influential men that had their own disagreements, one thing they agreed on was justification by faith alone. They agreed enough on that to take a firm stand against any works based justification. How great of a God we serve to know that we are made righteous, not because of we what good we have done or what evil we haven’t done, but rather by faith in what Jesus Christ has done for us. That is the message that Melanchthon preached and that is the message we preach today. Wether it is at home, next door, at work, or on the other side of the world, Jesus saves.